Gudauri is the youngest and most promising ski resort in the Caucasus. Cheap lift passes and great food make it a good alternative to Alpine ski resorts. Unique natural terrain provides great opportunities for the backcountry skiing. Here are only a few lifts (see below) but many options for skiing. Main pistes are prepared with ratracks, but in parallel with the pistes, there are wide wild fields, that make the local slopes a paradise for freeriders.
The town is divided between two parts: New Gudauri, the newly built apartment blocks close to the gondola lift (officially called GoodAura), and Gudauri per se, a town along the highway where the upscale hotels are located. There is a chair lift between the two parts.
The Georgian Military Highway links the town to Tbilisi (120 km, ~2 h) in the south. Heading north the road runs to Kazbegi, the Russian border and then Vladikavkaz in Russia's North Ossetia. Mashrutkas start from Didube, Tbilisi every hour and cost around 10 lari.
Be prepared to haggle with taxi drivers, take the uncomfortable walk on the road or try to hitchhike.
Skiing / snowboarding. Lift pass costs as little as 50 GEL a day (less if bought for multiple days; as of 2022). Piste map can be found on website. There are 8 well-maintained lifts (excluding short ones used for training), although not all of them can be operating at a given time. They work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the season. Most tracks are "blue", so may be less interesting for experienced skiers, although freeride opportunities are vast.
There are supermarkets with ATMs both in New Gudauri and at the main road, but restaurants are affordable and serve delicious food. Best ones are clustered in New Gudauri near the bottom station of the gondola lift (and in the end of multiple pistes), which is handy for lunch, but is also appropriate for dinner / apres-ski.
- 1 Georgian Restaurant (New Gudauri, on the gondola lift plaza). Great selection of Georgian dishes, from soups (like kharcho) to pastry (different types of khachapuri) to BBQ (shish and kebab), great taste and low prices. Mains for 20–30 GEL.
There are various hotels that the guy from the ski rental refers to as "VIP", which charge well above US$50/night.
- Marcopolo, ☏ . Very nice, has free wifi and located next to a grocery store and ski lift. Amenities like swimming pool, gym and sauna available. Free breakfast and dinner.
- Sports Hotel Gudauri (Gudauri 4702 Kazbegi Region, Georgia), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. This is a ski lodge with amenities like a swimming pool, sauna, indoor tennis courts, and a bowling alley. The rate per night with all meals included ranges from 102-546 lari.
- 1 WildGuru Hostel (not far from bottom station of ski lift), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The hostel has a dining room and a soft chill-out zone with the projector and the screen to watch videos. There is a free Wi-Fi at the hostel. The parking at the hostel’s territory is free of charge. The ski-depot is situated on the ground floor. The hostel has a Georgian chef who makes delicious dishes. Friendly staff and helpful guides are around. US$25 dorm.
There is a small accident & emergency clinic in Low Gudauri, near police station and petrol station, 5 minute walk from the lowest terminal of Pirveli lift. They have an X-ray machine, so don’t hesitate to go if you suspect an injury. They don’t charge much (in 2022, took 15 USD for a scan and a splint).
There are multiple venues to take a coronavirus PCR test that issue a travel certificate. In Low Gudauri, the clinic above performs tests for 90 GEL (as of 2022). Providers in New Gudauri are well signposted but most charge 100 GEL. A branch of Megalab charges 70 GEL (as of 2022) and returns the results within 24 hours. They are located in Loft 2, separate entry from the side closest to Gondola lift, phone no. +995 32205 1111.